Canada has announced its much-anticipated new access to open work permits for candidates with expired or expiring Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs).

An August 2 update also included new access to open work permits for Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) Pathway candidates, whose applications are yet to be finalized.

The new measures make thousands more foreign nationals in Canada eligible for open work permits, allowing them to continue to work in Canada for a set period.

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Open Work Permits For PGWP Holders

Candidates with PGWPs that expired or will expire between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022 will be allowed to work in Canada for an additional 18 months.

Those currently in Canada can also work in the interim, while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued.

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An Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada update offer five scenarios for how the new measures will affect applicants.

Scenario 1: Candidate’s PGWP expires between October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, their address is up to date, and their passport is valid until April 2024.

These candidates do not need to do anything. “When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, don’t respond,” says IRCC. “An updated work permit will be sent to your mailing address by mid-October.:

Scenario 2: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but they need to update their address and/or passport validity.

These candidates should receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, and follow the instructions to let officials know that it needs to be updated.

If a candidate’s passport validity does not allow the work permit to be extended by 18 months, they will not receive this initial email, and instead will receive a separate email in September.

Candidates needing to update their mailing address or passport information will receive instructions by email in September on how to do so online. A 2-week window will be provided for the update, with those who updated their information receiving an updated work permit in the mail by mid-November.

Candidates should check their passport validity and apply to extend it if it expires before April 2, 2024.

Scenario 3: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but they are unable to update their address or passport validity.

These candidates will need to apply to extend their work permit. They could receive a work permit extended to your passport expiration date or they could wait to apply until they have renewed their passport.

Scenario 4: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but IRCC didn’t contact them.

Candidates who do not receive an email from IRCC by mid-September are not eligible to have their work permit extended through this special process for another reason, such as information has been added to their file about admissibility to Canada that will need further review. They may still apply to extend their work permit.

Scenario 5: Candidate’s PGWP expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to October 1, 2022.

These candidates will need to apply for a work permit. Applications open on August 2, 2022. If the candidate is in Canada and their temporary status has also expired, they must apply to restore their status at the same time. Under these special measures, they are allowed to restore their status, even if it expired more than 90 days ago.

Candidates are eligible to apply from abroad if they have left Canada and return after they have been approved.

Candidates may not apply for this work permit at a port of entry. All work permit applications for this public policy must be submitted online by December 31, 2022.

How These Candidates Can Work While Their Applications Are Processed

Candidates with PGWPs that expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will receive an email indicating they are allowed to work in the interim. 

Recipients can attach this email to their PGWP to show they are authorized to work.

This interim measure is in effect until May 31, 2023.

Candidates with a valid temporary resident visa who are currently outside Canada can return and be authorized to work. However, the interim work authorization email notice cannot, by itself, be used to return to Canada.

Work Permits For TR to PR Pathway Applicants

Candidates for the TR to PR Pathway whose permanent residence application has not yet been finalized, can apply for an open work permit to work while they wait.

Those applying for an open work permit can get one with an end date of December 31, 2024, provided their passport is valid that long.

About 2,500 TR to PR applicants already have open work permits through this measure with an end date of December 31, 2022.

These individuals will soon begin receiving an email telling them that they may be able to get their work permit updated with a longer validity date.

Applicants with passports that expire before December 31, 2024, will not receive this email and will not be eligible to change the length of their current work permit through the special measure. 

They are still eligible to apply and seek a longer work permit, either by applying to get a work permit to match the day their passport expires or applying after they have updated their passport.

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